NCAA Monday Night Basketball: Texas Tech/Oklahoma State Preview

by Alec McMordie

The Big Monday college basketball doubleheader on ESPN concludes at 9 PM ET in a battle of Big 12 foes jockeying for seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Tech returned to action on Saturday after not playing for ten days in a 76-71 loss at Kansas as a 3-point underdog. The Jayhawks nailed a 3-pointer with 24 seconds to take the lead for good in handing the Red Raiders their second-straight loss. Kevin McCullar and Marcus Santos-Silva both scored 12 points. McCullar is second on the team with a 10.6 points-per-game scoring average, while Santos-Silva is fifth with his 8.4 points-per-game clip.

Chris Beard’s team is ranked 15th nationally by the Associated Press with a 14-7 record. This group is likely his most talented team in his five years as head coach of this program. While he lost three starters from the team that finished 18-13 last season, he was aggressive in attracting some high-level transfers while bringing in a good freshman class to join junior Kyler Edwards and sophomore Terrence Shannon. Some of the depth Beard had established diminished when five-star freshman Nimari Burnett decided to leave the team to transfer to another school. He was averaging 17.7 minutes-per-game but only scoring 5.3 points-per-game. Georgetown transfer Mac McClung has adapted to Beard’s system to lead the team with a 16.9 points-per-game scoring average. Shannon is second on the team by scoring 12.6 points-per-game.

The Red Raiders are once again an outstanding defensive team under Beard. They are 24th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to kenpom. Texas Tech is eighth in the country by forcing turnovers in 24.8% of their opponent’s possessions. This team thrives in getting second-chance shots as they pull down 34.1% of their missed shots, 26th in the country. They also get to the free-throw line as they rank 13th in free throw rate. The weakness of this team is shooting the basketball. The Red Raiders make only 33.8% of their 3-pointers and 48.2% of their shots inside the arc, ranking 163rd and 227th, respectively. Kenpom ranks their adjusted offensive efficiency at 31st nationally.

Texas Tech fell to 6-6 in the conference with the loss on Sunday, leaving them in seventh place in the Big 12. They have been defeated twice by Kansas and West Virginia, with additional losses to Baylor and these Cowboys. They lost to Houston in non-conference action. Their highest-profile wins are against Texas and Oklahoma (twice), and LSU in a non-conference victory.

Oklahoma State scored the final nine points last Tuesday in a 76-58 victory against Iowa State as an 11-point favorite. Cade Cunningham scored 21 points while pulling down five rebounds and dishing out seven assists. The freshman phenom leads the team with an 18.5 points-per-game scoring average. The 6’8 freshman point guard might be the number one pick in the NBA draft in June.

Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe added 17 points. The freshman is fourth on the team with a 9.4 points-per-game scoring average. Last year’s leading scorer, Isaac Likekely, will be a game-time decision tonight after not playing on Tuesday. The 6’5  junior point guard is second on the team with a 10.2 points-per-game scoring average. He is contributing 7.0 rebounds-per-game and 3.8 assists-per-game.

Oklahoma State, 14-6, have high-profile victories against Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and these Red Raiders. The Cowboys are in sixth place in the Big 12 with a 7-6 record with losses to Baylor, West Virginia, Texas, and Kansas. Two conference losses to TCU dog their resume.

The Cowboys are 85th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency at kenpom. Their 51.1% shooting mark inside the arc is 119th. They rank 19th at kenpom in adjusted defensive efficiency. Their opponent's effective field goal percentage of 45.9% ranks 23rd nationally.

Oklahoma State upset Texas Tech on the road in Lubbock on January 5th, 82-77, as an 8-point underdog. BetAnySports lists the Red Raiders as a 3.5-point road favorite with the total set at 138.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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